Not a good start....

Trip Start Nov 08, 2012
Trip End Dec 10, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Now I should not admit this as it kills the image I have of myself as a savvy traveler but, I was ripped off to the tune of $45 within the first four hours do being in Sri Lanka! My defense is a weak one - the folly of someone actually being kind to an older lady and playing on a tourist interest of temples, elephants and gems. I had left the Galle Face Hotel to walk to the nearest ATM and I'm sure I became his 'target" while doing that.I was with a group of people going across a busy street back to the hotel when a friendly youngish man helped us across a very busy highway. He began talking to me and said he was a cook at the hotel. He said that it was his day off and since it was a religious holiday (which I knew to be true) he was going to the temple within walking distance and did I want to walk along as it wasn't far away and wouldn't take that long. Blah, blah. So sure, why not? About half way to the temple a tuk-tuk driver pulls up and the "cook" says that we must hurry and we might have already missed the ceremony which included elephants. We get to the temple, he gives me a quick tour which was fine since I knew that Carmen would want to see this and I could come back. The "cook" then asks me if I am interested in gems as every year on this holiday there is a big show at a place he knows that is a very short tuk- tuk ride away. I say I don' like gems but I am curious about what is there so the same tuk-tuk takes us. (Dumb,dumb dumb me can never resist looking at rocks) The gem shop is crummy and I am told that the big parking lot show is over. They try to sell me some pink quartz I am mildly interested in and my bargaining point is that I know what it would sell for in a bead shop in the US- I walk out with nothing and get into the same tuk-tuk with the driver and "cook". In three minutes we are back to my hotel and the cook steps out and leaves me to pay the fare. I knew that you never get in a taxi or tuk-tuk without establishing a price but did not do so as I thought the cook would be the negotiator, blah blah. They are a team and I'm stuck with the price the driver quotes. I went back to the hotel in a sulk and admitted to Carmen in great shame that I was ripped off. I was only consoled by meeting a person the next day that had the same thing happen with a slightly different story line.

Thankfully it's been all good since that. We are linked up through a contact of Carmen's to a travel agency and a driver named Rohitha who showed us the Colombo on the second day. Rohitha is to drive us to the mountains to a city named Kandy tomorrow. He'll stay overnight and be our guide through several sites.

I'm doing surprisingly well with the food and climate. Pictures follow.
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